Updated January 2023
Throughout the year, Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center features many festivals. The first festival of the year is the International Festival of the Arts. In 2023, from January 13th- February 20th, you can immerse yourself in culinary, performing and visual arts when visiting Epcot Center. This festival will definitely bring the arts to your day, Disney style!
Just like other Epcot festivals, there is a big emphasis on food, but this festival focuses on the presentation and artfulness of the food dishes. There are multiple food booths throughout the park. Below are some of my favorites from 2022.
By far the most popular the first weekend of 2022, was Pop Eats. If you are a Disney fan, I’m sure you have heard of the hours long (I think some people waited up to 6 hours!) lines for the Figment popcorn bucket filled with rainbow popcorn. The popcorn bucket was certainly cute, but I’m not one to stand in line for hours to purchase something. On the 4th day of the festival, after selling 500,000 buckets, the popcorn bucket sold out.
While I’m sure there were plenty of disappointed people, I was actually happy they had sold out of the popcorn bucket, as one of the festival food options I really wanted to try was being sold at the same booth. I’m a big fan of grilled cheese and tomato soup and it was a chilly florida winter day so soup sounded amazing! The tomato soup was served in a soup can and was topped with sour cream and it came with two small pieces of grilled cheese to dip in it. I also had a Brooklyn Brewery Pulp Art Hazy IPA to wash it down. It was delicious and I’m so happy I was able to try it, sorry Figment popcorn bucket fans, but I’m glad those buckets sold out.
Another popular booth that has been there in past years is the Deconstructed Dish which features favorite dishes presented in a deconstructed manner. I tried the Deconstructed French Onion Soup which was a beef broth ravioli, gruyere and onions. It was so delicious. I paired it with a Blood Orange Cosmo which I got from the nearby Refreshment Port.
With the popularity of the new Disney animation film, Encanto, the Vibrante and Vivido: Encanto Cocina was another popular booth. But the film isn’t the only thing to make this booth popular, the food was amazing! Still chilly from the cool Florida winter day, I tried the Spice Ajiaco Soup. This soup had all my favorite things, Guajillo and Arbol Chili-Spiced Chicken, potatoes, avocado and corn. I highly recommend this soup. My sister got the Chorizo and Potato Empanada which she said was delicious. The one notable thing about the Empanada was the portion size, it was definitely a regular size empanada as opposed to a tasting size.
There were plenty of desserts that I wish I had tried but didn’t get to. The one dessert I did try was from the L’ Arte di Mangiare booth. At this booth, I got the bomboloni which came with a hazelnut dipping sauce. I of course also had an Italian Margarita with this as it’s my favorite drink in Epcot since I love limoncello in my margaritas! Since the drink was frozen, I’m glad I got this on my first day when it was in the 70s.
Of course, no Epcot festival is complete without a flight! At the Artist’s Table, I got the beer flight which featured beers from Kentucky and Florida craft breweries. At the same booth, my sister got the Symphony in Chocolate Flight which paired sipping chocolate with cream liqueurs. Maybe one of these days, they will find a better way to present the beer flights, the cardboard box doesn’t really go with the artistic presentation of the Festival of the Arts.
Although the food and drinks are my favorite parts to Epcot festivals, there is so much more to the Festival of the Arts. There are quite a few ways to experience the performing arts at the festival.
One of the most popular is the Disney on Broadway Concert Series. These concerts take place nightly with three performances each night at 5:30, 6:45 and 8pm. The concerts feature Broadway stars from the Disney musicals. It’s really great to be able to see these talented singers outdoors in a much warmer location than Broadway. For the guaranteed best seating to the shows, you can purchase a dining package at select Epcot restaurants for a pre-fixed lunch or dinner that day. This is a great way to guarantee a seat at the show if there is a Broadway star you are set on seeing.
One of my favorite parts of the festival is the chalk art! Featuring Disney characters and scenes from around the world, it’s amazing how the artist can make the walkways look like a piece of art! Check out the slideshow below on some of my favorite chalk art over the years:
Some of the best chalk art displays are the 3D art. The people and places in the art jump out to you and you can even take a photo in the art, and it will look like you are part of it.
One of the really neat aspects of the festival is being able to see the artist creating the chalk art right before your eyes. I think it’s both inspiring and therapeutic to watch the artists in action!
It’s not just the chalk artist that you can find at work during the festival, other artist are also working on their art pieces throughout the festival.
Does watching the artists at work make you want to create your own masterpiece, be a part of a masterpiece or purchase one of these masterpieces from these talented artists? Well, you can do all of this at Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts!
Be a part of creating a masterpiece at the festival but contributing to the paint-by-number mural! Each person is given a section and number to paint on the mural. Paint and brush are provided and there is no additional charge for this. They also give you a postcard so that you can see what the finished product will look like just in case you aren’t there when it’s finished. This is definitely a fun activity for the whole family!
Have you ever wanted to be a part of a famous painting? Well at Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts, you can do just that. Be a part of famous paintings such as Mona Lisa, The Scream or Washington Crossing the Delaware. These photo ops are so much fun and help to bring out the creative side even in people who may not be that creative. You can take your own photos or at some of the photo ops there are Disney PhotoPass photographers to take your photo if you purchased Memory Maker.
Speaking of Disney PhotoPass, there are also special festival Magic Shots available to take. You may get a Magic Shot like the one below that can be a great memento of the festival or one with figment holding a paint brush.
After seeing all this art at the festival, what better way to remember it all by, than to buy a piece of art to bring home! Throughout the park are many markets where art is displayed for sale. And one of the great things about these markets is you can meet the artist whose work you are purchasing. There are so many beautiful pieces for Disney and non-Disney fans alike.
This festival has it all and adds a little bit of culture to your theme park day. Great way to enjoy something different while visiting the theme parks in Orlando with your family. If you can’t make it there this year, it runs every year from mid-January to late February. Make sure to check out my posts on other Epcot festivals: Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival and Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. Beyond The Miles Travel specializes in Walt Disney World Travel and would be more than happy to help plan your future trip to visit one of Epcot’s many festivals.
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